Pradhan panel questions slain cops' 'sacrifice'

Pradhan panel questions slain cops' 'sacrifice'

Pradhan panel questions slain cops' 'sacrifice'

Hemant Karkare

The committee interviewed two surviving policemen whose testimonies revealed it was “perhaps not necessary” for the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and inspector Vijay Salaskar to travel in a Toyota Qualis along the Rang Bhavan lane to take on the terrorists.

The leakage of the report comes after Kamte’s wife Vinita released her book ‘To the Last Bullet’ — on her husband’s sacrifice — in which she has pointed fingers at Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria for allegedly “mishandling” the situation.

Maria praised

The committee, on the other hand, has praised Maria for handling the terror attacks for three days from the control room, besides raising doubts on the sacrifice made by the three officers.

It stated that according to a wireless operator, Sachin Tilekar, the rear gate of Cama hospital was broken open by someone to rescue him at 11.45 pm that night, after which he personally reported to Kamte about the terrorists inside Cama hospital.

Tilekar was injured in the firing, and Salaskar sent him to hospital in a crime branch vehicle. A posse of policemen assembled at the rear side of Cama hospital — they included a Quick Response Team (QRT) unit, which “had the option to storm into Cama from the rear side”. The report said: “Instead, the three senior officers opted to go towards the Rang Bhawan in one vehicle to confront the terrorists from the front gate (Of Cama).”

Unfortunately, the terrorists had by then moved out of Cama from the front gate and entered the adjacent Rang Bhavan lane and were hiding at the Corporation Bank ATM.
The committee also noted that after the two terrorists exited from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and entered Cama hospital, the control room could not closely track their movements or that of the police teams as several events were happening simultaneously in the area and “senior officers present on the spot were not keeping the control room informed of their tactical plans”.

When the ultras entered Cama, Additional Commissioner of Police Sadanand Date, who had rushed to the spot, went inside with six officers and policemen and took a lift to the sixth floor in their pursuit.

In the intense firing that followed, the terrorists killed two officers and injured almost all others, but Date held the fort valiantly, dispatching his wireless operator Tilekar outside to get more help.